homemade Macedonain Pindzur celebration

by Heguiberto on July 16, 2009

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fire-roasted peppers for Pindzur

fire-roasted peppers for Pindzur

Our friend Aleksandar joined us last Saturday for a Macedonian style dinner and prepared a couple of great dishes from his native homeland: pindzur and stuffed cabbage. I’d had these before when he made them on a couple of other occasions. I devoured them with gusto those times! It was really exciting to finally get to learn how to make them myself. Now it seemed all the more timely as we learned recently that Aleks accepted a job in the mathematics department at NYU. He’ll be leaving us for the Big Apple next year. What a bummer! We’re all going to miss him and Christian; their amazing BBQ parties and their dramatic fashion sense. Good luck Aleks and Christian!

Actually it was my idea to throw this party so that I could master these wonderful dishes before they leave. Also a party where the guests prepare things with the hosts is a wonderful way of uniting several things that I adore: lovely friends, some good chat, making and eating gorgeous food and drinking, of course. The fact that the party was Macedonian/Greek/ Hellenic in style made it even more intriguing.

John and Aleks happily working together in the kitchen

John and Aleks happily working together in the kitchen

Mediterranean cuisine is a personal favorite and how great to be able to expand my repertoire. The dish that I’ll describe here is so fresh, tasty and ancient….I was going to add ‘simple’ but I can’t and you’ll know why soon enough! Pindzur is very labor intensive but well worth it. This is slow food at its slowest and I love it!

One benefit of this more traditional approach to food is that it gives ample time to talk. I enjoyed sharing our microscopic kitchen with John, Aleks, and Kevin. We were all happy chopping away, sipping Spritx, talking trash with one another and overall having fun getting dinner ready. I did not feel stressed at all compared to when I am cooking the whole meal by myself for a large party. Instead I felt that I was there to learn, which was a good feeling. I missed a bit of the conversation in the living room but Steven will share more about it in his postings.

We made several dishes. These are the contributors and what they made:

only use the freshest veggies for Pindzur

only use the freshest veggies for Pindzur

Aleks – Pindzur, stuffed cabbage
John – bean stew, Greek salad
Kevin – Greek style lemon potatoes, Saganaki (Greek cheese flambé)
Steven – edamame/miso dip and Spritx cocktail
Hegui- zucchini/feta cheese Borek and grilled sea-bass

As you can see, it was a Macedonian feast! We had about a dozen guests so it worked out perfectly. After the cooking we had more drinking, feasting, talking and just a swell time.

Thanks Aleks and all of the other “visiting chefs!”

I’m going to round out this post with the recipe for Pindzur, the essential Macedonian dish that led us to throw the party in the first place.

Homemade Macedonian Pindzur

ingredients:
5 eggplants
2 poblano peppers
6 sweet red bell peppers
5 garlic cloves, crushed
16oz can of fire roasted roma tomatoes, skin removed and crushed, warmed in a pan
1/2 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

finished Pindzur ready to eat!

finished Pindzur ready to eat!

How to:
Fire up your grill and roast eggplant and peppers on high temperature turning them occasionally till both eggplant and peppers collapse and look charred on the outside but not burned. Set eggplant aside to cool down a bit. Do the same with peppers but place them in a paper bag and close it; the steam will make it easier to peel them later. With the veggies still warm peel eggplant and cut them into small bits. Transfer to a large bowl. Do the same with peppers after removing the skin, seeds and especially ribs of the poblano pepper (to control the heat). Mix with eggplant. Mix in warmed crushed tomato, along with black pepper and salt. Scatter the crushed garlic on top. Heat olive oil till fragrant and almost smoky. Pour over crushed garlic and stir everything together. The aroma of the hot oil and garlic at the top melds with the eggplant mix at the bottom giving the dish a distinct flavor (this process is called tempering). Adjust salt and pepper. Serve.

This is good eaten alone, as a condiment or scooped up with bread or chips. The flavors are wonderfully fresh and taste great the next day.

Jasmine and Antonio

David and Carlos

Kevie having fun

party time!

Stevie enjoying Spritx

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